« ÎnapoiContinuă »
proportion even for this neighbourhood, with all the genuine cha racteristics of the species in full perfection; and whilst they were idle dependants on the parish funds, many non-parishioners were in constant employment in the place. Advice and remonstrance in cases of delinquency of any sort were not inconsistent with our plan. The vestry endeavoured to impress them with an idea of the disgraceful condition to which loss of character had reduced them, and offered to introduce them to work, which, if cheerfully accepted and assiduously pursued, would enable them, as daylabourers, gradually to slide into the best employment of the parish. They resolutely refused all employment at the ordinary wages of the place, and when it was stated to them that they would have no alternative but to accept the offer that was made them, or to starve, the vestry was reminded, with an amusing arcliness, by one who had not been a fortnight out of gaol, that there was yet another resource for men of their stamp. Bowing to his superior knowledge in these matters, the vestry stood corrected, and felt, that with enemies of such high pretensions, they had no choice but to take the field. They as little dreamt, indeed, of submitting to this kind of extortion as to any other, and that they successfully resisted it their evidence is, that the total amount of their disburse ments under that head of expenditure, has not amounted, during the two years ending at Easter 1822, to five pounds. The means they adopted for supporting the patient, and the specific they used for curing his disorder, was labour. I am able to state, that the labour was productive, and did not sensibly interfere with the established occupation of any parishioner. Proposals were made to the inhabitants generally to remove by wheelbarrows any rubbish, stones, dung, sand, gravel, or any other bulky and ponderous substance which might be required to be transported from one place to another. The terms asked of the employer were the sum which would be paid for the removal of any given quantity of the article in the ordinary mode by horses and carts. It was not long before considerable commissions were received for the conveyance of gravel from a neighbouring common, both from private individuals and from the surveyors of the roads. The proposal made to the paupers was, that they should work by the piece, and be paid for the measured quantity they should deliver at the appointed place: thus avoiding the necessity of constant superintendance to secure the performance of a reasonable quantity of labour, and to prevent waste on the road. The work was considered disgraceful, and the remuneration offered, which would enable a man to earn about three-fourths of the pay of a respectable day-labourer in the ordinary course of employment in the neighbourhood, was not sufficient to compensate for this objection. The offer was rejected by the paupers, and inadequacy of payment alleged as a reason. Upon having recourse to the ultima ratio of overseers, an appeal to the magistrates, the vestry found themselves worsted. Assured of the propriety, and not despairing
of the possibility, of ultimately carrying their plan into execution, they submitted to a reversal of the natural order of things, and appealed from the judgment of the magistrates to the sense, (the sense of moderation,) of the paupers: they offered them their own terms. Their demand was double the sum that had been offered, and with these terms the vestry complied. They then undertook the work, and, as voluntary labourers, earned twenty-four shillings per week for the space of a fortnight. Upon presenting a proof of this to the magistrates, and representing the probable effects it might have upon the regular labourers of the parish, the vestry had no difficulty in obtaining that acquiescence and support which the embarrassment occasioned by the novelty of their scheme, had in the first instance denied them. The pay was immediately reduced to a sum per square yard which would enable an ablebodied man to earn about ten or twelve shillings per week; and unemployed men had no other means of obtaining support from the parish. As a man's earnings at this business were materially affected by the condition of the roads, it was found necessary to establish a scale of payment, graduated according to the state of the weather; and single men were placed on a lower scale than that of men with families, As the sum received was fixed, and the sum paid variable, for the conveyance of the gravel, it happened that sometimes more was paid, sometimes less, for the labour than it cost, but the balance at the end of the year was not against the parish. When the roads were in good order and the pay in consequence reduced, and the men discovered that the consumer was paying more than they were allowed for the work, they were anxious to take the job into their own hands; but such proposals were rejected; and they were reminded that the work was offered to them, not imposed upon them, and that they might withdraw from it whenever they pleased. The object of the vestry was not to employ them for a continuance; but, while relieving the parish from the burden of their maintenance, to force them to seek employment for themselves, and to be content with the average wages of the neighbourhood,
"When neither money nor other means of support could be obtained without labour, and the choice was only between work and starvation, the election was soon made. Necessity compelled the unemployed to apply for barrows, and the system of remuneration, which rewarded them only in proportion to the work performed, and in which there could be neither deception nor imposition, stimulated the most reluctant to sufficient exertion. It was soon found, that the most determined profligacy, the most confirmed habits of idleness and drunkenness, would yield to the barrow system, and the condition of a day labourer, in the ordinary walks of employment, came to be sincerely envied; but though weary of gravel wheeling; the ground was so occupied, that it was long before many of them could find any other occupation." P. 85.
The result of the enterprize is, that the rates which in 1818 amounted to 48467. were reduced in 1822, to 24237. and the moral condition of the poor has been raised in the same proportion. The adjoining parish of Wandsworth has effected a similar change, and we sincerely trust that the contagion will spread. An alteration in the system of the poor-laws is more to be desired than expected; the administration of them may be reformed at any period by an ordinary exertion of public spirit.
It is not surprising that so judicious a body as the Putney Vestry should desire to furnish the workhouse with religious instruction. But how could they dream of authorizing "some of the inhabitants of the parish to read on the morning and evening of every Sunday such a course of prayers, and a sermon, as might be pointed out to them as suitable to the place." (p. 97.) This system, we are assured, "was not abandoned but with the extreme regret of both parties," but it is a regret in which we profess our inability to sympathize. A workhouse ought not to be converted into a conventicle.
ART. XVIII, A Vindication of the Reasons for with: drawing from the Hibernian Bible Society, in Answer to Charges of Misreprentation, &c. contained in an Anonymous Letter. By James Edward Jackson, M.A. Perpe tual Curate of Grange, Armagh. 8vo. pp. 226. Milliken, Dublin. 1823.
THE peculiar feature in the history of the Hibernian Bible Society is, that it obtained a patronage of which the British and Foreign could never boast, but has not contrived to keep it. We have been repeatedly told, upon this side of the water, that the Bible Society has fallen into the hands of Dissenters, because the Clergy refused it their countenance and support. The Primate, and a large body of the Prelates and Clergy of Ireland, adopted that course which their Eng lish brethren declined, and the experiment has not succeeded. With a manliness and candour which more than counterbalance their former rashness, these distinguished personages own their error-withdrawn from an Institution of which they have discovered the real objects, and declare that the general conduct and tendency of the Bible Society are such as Churchmen cannot sanction. Then the praise with which they had been previously loaded, turns at once into contemptuous sneers, or hold defiance; and, after repeated
hut fruitless endeavours to procure a restoration of their patrenage, we are assured, with all gravity, that it did more harm than good. If those Churchmen who still continue to subscribe to the Bible Society, wish to know how their remonstrances or their secession will be received, we can refer them to Mr. Jackson for information.
This gentleman published unanswerable Reasons for withdrawing from the Hibernian Bible Society'-appealing in every instance to the Reports and other publications of the Society itself, in support of his objections and assertions. This candid proceeding has subjected him to the usual charges of bigotry, unfairness, irreligion-and even atheism. But it has also elicited a ́ Vindication' of his conduct, to which we especially call the reader's attention. The Irish part of it, is that which has the most claim to a hearing, though the whole question is most ably argued, as the following specimen will suffice to shew.
"I am no enemy to the circulation of the Scriptures-In common with Bishop Marsh, (since my opponent has done me the honor to associate my name with his) I objected only to the pernicious mode of that circulation; to principles engrafted on it, to practices connected with its detail, to penny associations and domiciliary visits, which left the minister a cypher in his own parish; to erroneous opinions inculcated; to enthusiastic pretensions set up; to absurdities delivered with solemnity of face; to all this, sublimated in speeches, and condensed in pamphlets, and unceasingly doled out under the most winning pretences, to those who were the least able to judge, whether what they received was deleterious or wholesome.
"If the Letter-Writer reply, see page 10, that the Society could not dispense with its reports. The answer is obvious :—It might have done without such reports; without 10,000 copies of a pamphlet, containing Mr. Owen's instructive letters from the continent-see Br. & For. Soc. cash account in 16th Report without the publication of the travels of Drs. Henderson, Pinkerton, Pater son, and many others without monthly extracts, narratives, summaries, and brief views-almost every page of which productions, I speak it advisedly, contains matter, which in one shape or other is reprehensible, unfit to be put forth under the sanction of an enlightened clergy. It might have done without its theatrical and multiplied meetings. It is in these papers and proceedings that the opinions and extravagances of the writers and actors are embodied. If it be rejoined, that the measures complained of were calculated to increase the revenues, and to extend the influence of the Society, and thus indirectly to promote the sale of Bibles and Testaments that it was an every day's practice with other institutions, which had vastly thriven by such means the spirit
of my answer was, that I would be concerned in no such questionable traffic; that my sole object was to circulate the Bible, and that I would have nothing to do with the distribution of harmless anecdotes,' and romances-or with popular meetings, in which the most voluble were expected to say something in praise of the Society, and they who said what was most extravagant, were most applauded.
"I was not reduced to the alternative of not circulating the scriptures, or of circulating them by these objectionable methods. I had a Society at hand, which, if duly seconded, was fully adequate to put the Bible into the hands of those who were likely to make a good use of it; and to this Society I determined, in future, to give my exclusive support." Vindication, p. 7.
A considerable portion of the pamphlet is devoted to Mr. Jackson's defence against the charge of unfair quotation; and the most unfriendly jury would be compelled to find him not guilty. He is accused of garbling and falsifying, because his opponents had nothing else to say. He had made out so strong a case of absurdity, sectarianism, spiritual pride, and self-deception, that without running down his evidence the controversy would have been at an end. The attempt therefore, was made with considerable vigour and pertinacity, but with little or no effect. The general tenor of the Reports and Monthly Extracts is such as Mr. Jackson has stated; and his description is fatal to the Society's claims upon the soberminded members of the United Church. His account of the secession of the Irish Prelates, and its consequences, deserves to be extensively known,
Page/82.. I am sure you will regret to have again brought forward this single expression of Rotten Branches.'
I do not in the least regret it. It is an expression highly indecorous, and perfectly indefensible. It is by no means to be regarded as a single effusion of undue warmth, strikingly contrasted with the respectful terms that surround it. It is, on the contrary, quite harmless, when compared with the general tone and character of the speech, of which it forms a part. The treatment which the seceding Prelates and Clergy have experienced at the hands of the person to whom these words are attributed, and of other leading members of the Society, since it has been held up as an example of proper feeling and of Christian forbearance, provokes remark. Nor in estimating the temper and conduct of the Society's advocates towards seceders, ought the virulent invective, and the rude, menaces with which the press abounded, to be entirely overlooked. For though the authors of these outrages prudently shrunk from public reprobation, and though no institution is to be made strictly answerable for what it does not avow, it is manifest that these anonymous libellers were amongst the most active, and not the